Post Modern Politics

Kurt Vonnegut famously wrote: “There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.” And it doesn’t matter which side holds the office. It seems that this flaw may now extend to all politicians. Of course, Americans love to love their politician and hate everyone else’s.  In fact, in 1990, Californians passed overwhelmingly term limits and at the same time returned 96 percent of incumbents.

As we approach the midterm elections there is a frenetic energy building. But it’s not the excitement depicted in the 70s film with Robert Redford, The Candidate, it’s mean and nasty, it’s hater accusing hater of hating more, it is a very uncivil civics and the logical extension of our adversarial, two-party system.

Politics have always been a bit messy, carried out in smoke filled rooms by less than savory characters, but we all hearken back to a time when in the late enlightenment period this country was founded. At the time there was a tradition referred to as noblesse oblige, or the noble are obliged to serve. Diplomacy was carried out in French and it made sense that we form a representative democracy, a republic. This was much preferable than a direct democracy, which resembled more like mob rule.

The founders built on the enlightenment thinkers who wrote of the social contract, the consent of the governed and patterned this republic after the Greek and Roman ideals of reason, logic and the rule of law. The Constitution was cobbled together in secret after the Articles of Confederation were a miserable failure and the young country was about to fall apart just as it was coming together. Imagine if an overhaul of that magnitude were to be undertaken today. Conversely, can you see the scene in Philadelphia if the modern media existed then? Satellite trucks lining the cobblestone streets beaming the day’s feed up to the satellite links and out to the major outlets; never mind the constitutional prohibition against quartering soldiers, all of the inns and homes have been overrun by reporters and their entourages. It never would have come together, but let’s hold that thought for a moment.

The Constitution emerged and was incubated in a very different society than the one we live in today. This society was marked by homogeneity: white, male property owners were the franchised and a blind eye was turned to the irony of the Declaration of Independence’s self-evident truth that all men were created equal. The Union was tested and constitutional challenges have arisen and largely been managed by the dynamic document. Suffrage, civil rights, free speech and many other landmark issues have been largely resolved by what many refer to as the living document.

In the modern era of the 24/7 news cycle and the echo chambers of the internet 350,000,000 opinions are shared ad nauseum muddling the distinction between a republic and direct democracy and making it virtually impossible for government to get anything done and instead, politicians grandstand (even more now than ever) and we have moved beyond the aw, shucks, homespun wisdom of Will Rogers who reminded that the country was safe when the congress was out of session.

In Ted Koppel’s 1998 commencement speech at Stanford University, he lamented that we have  become so comfortable “being defined according to polls and ratings and surveys, in the Dow or on the NASDAQ, in the outcome of elections or in public propositions or referenda, that we have sunk into a sort of general relativism, in which all issues are determined by majority vote or a public display of the lowest common denominator: We learn, according to the syndicated lesson taught by Jerry Springer, that while all of us are flawed, we who are watching are not nearly as flawed as the poor souls he parades in front of us. Which may, if the lesson is repeated often enough, teach us that, rather than struggling toward an ideal of perfect behavior, we can always console ourselves with the examples of those even weaker than we are.”

And so, as we approach the midterm elections the Jerry Springer effect is in full display. But no one will be happy about the outcome. The president’s party will lose seats and control of one or both houses of congress might change hands. So what? No one will be happy, we will have divided government and the hate and acrimony will continue. It is the nature of the adversarial, two-party system, a very patriarchal, masculine system marked by running campaigns, like a military campaign.

As we transition from a material world view to an energy world view and the approach is led by a quantum perspective, perhaps it is time to soften our approach to politics. There was much chagrin about America’s failure to elect a woman president in the last cycle, but insofar as women who become politicians have, for the most part, tried to out man the men, they have missed the opportunity to play to their strengths of keepers of subtle knowledge and impressions of past experience, deep, intuitive knowers who can equalize opposites, nurturers and creators. The Dalai Lama has said that it is the western woman who will save the world. But not so long as she emulates the masculine patriarchs who have worked us into this state of affairs.

The diverse society we live in today has outgrown the two-party system. The monolithic options are no longer relevant to the vast majority of the population. Longtime Sacramento columnist Dan Walters used to write an annual article on whether it was time to embrace a parliamentary form of government and it was always met with relative disdain from both sides of traditionalists. It just may be time for that type of radical change.

A parliamentary form of government has many interests who after an election must form a coalition government. A coalition government is far more likely to be effective with the added bonus that the collaborative nature will foster matriarchal type energy to exist and excel. The question is: “have we had enough of the hate and acrimony of the two-party system to make radical change?” And of course, can radical change even take place under the microscope of scrutiny in our modern society.

Go vote this week, if you haven’t already done so, but don’t be mad or raise the hate stakes when nothing changes.   

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Winning Over Cancer Series

Are you or is someone you know facing cancer right now? Keep reading…

I am excited to share an amazing resource which educates you about natural and integrative ways to heal cancer, take charge of your life and learn the ways to be cancer-free.

My friend Evrim Numanoglu Ozgen and I are inviting you to this amazing interview series called, “Winning Over Cancer Series. Discover how to overcome your fears, take your power back and learn the secrets to living a cancer-free life.”

We got together, alongside some other top experts to bring this life-changing series to you.

We are starting on 30th October 2018. Don’t wait…

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http://winningovercancerseries.com/Norman-Plotkin

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The Year I grew Up

We never know just how it will be at the end of life. You can think you have it figured out, you may even be sure you know what you believe and what lies ahead, but until you face it for real you just never know.

 

And the longer you have to face your mortality the more it may morph, changing, adapting, adjusting and morphing again.

 

In March my mom had a stroke. It came hard and fast and left her partially paralyzed and without speech. I had seen my mother give end of life care to several others including my grandma Helen, her mother. Mom had shown me the way to take care of her at the end.

 

She was graceful, dignified. My sister and I got her set up with hospice, which included a hospital bed in her home and a schedule of caregivers to bathe her and care for her. We called all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren and said come see her to say goodbye.

 

Initially, we had made her smoothies. On one visit by the nurse she asked us if we were trying to prolong this. We said no. She said then stop giving her the smoothies. So as directed we withdrew everything but the “comfort” package. Comfort package is code for lorazepam and morphine.

 

Mom took to the comfort package like a champ. She came to relish the flavored sponges that would wet her mouth and gave a little flavor. The hospice folks were real pros. They were caring and took time to know us. They gave us literature that was very helpful as it explained everything that we could expect so that when it happened we were prepared.

 

And just as they said, after about a week she began to shut down. She slept most of the time. One night at just after one am she left, 1:11 am exactly. And just like that a life well lived was done, an angel transitioned to another plane at 84.

 

In September my father had a stroke. Dad is 93 and has been through quadruple bypass surgery and bladder cancer. Mom had told me that he thought he would die in his fifties. But here he was, 93 and just suffered a stroke. I flew to LA to see him in the hospital.

 

I thought I knew what the next steps would be. But dad’s stroke was different. They called it a transitory episode meaning the symptoms came and went. One moment his face would be drooped on one side and a little later not so much.

 

I spoke with the physician. No more surgeries or heroic efforts. He has a medical directive and not only do I know his wishes, but he can still articulate them. Insofar as his condition was diminished by the stroke the prognosis is of progressive decline so the doctor’s orders were for hospice.

 

We got him set up at home and met with the medical staff. We went over the comfort package details and inventoried his battery of medications. Since the directive is for comfort only, the other meds were discontinued. We met with the social worker and the chaplain. Dad’s full-time care giver, Butch, and I got on the same page for his day to day care. Then I flew back to Sacramento to get back to life, staying in close contact.

 

Before I left, we had a conversation about what the end would be like. He began to cry and I asked if he thought he wouldn’t see me again. So I told him I would be back the next week.

And back I came.

 

Three days before I was to return, dad called and asked me to jump on a plane and bring a gun. He wanted me to take him to the beach and leave him in the car and he would do the rest. I said, “you know they won’t let me on a plane with a gun, dad!” I had no intention of bringing him a gun, but this gave me some insight into his state of mind.

 

When I visited next we had a deep, philosophical conversation. He started with the fact that Butch thought he was afraid. I asked him if he was. He said that yes, he probably was. So I talked to him at length about fear and how it was an emotion based largely on the unknown. He agreed that was probably the case. I suggested that he could work around the fear by defining for himself what would happen.

 

I suggested he create an elaborate scenario regarding what he could expect. Once he had imagined all of the details he should lean into it and know that it would be just that way. This way he could remove the unknown and with it the fear. He mulled it over a bit and we moved on.

 

He said Butch was catholic and thought he should come to God before the end. I told him I wasn’t sure about all of the catholic rigmarole, what with the genuflection and guilt and such, but that I thought there were worse things he could do. I shared that I believed and had faced this question in earnest when I had gone through cancer. I had talked to him about faith before and he was resistant, but now it was more poignant.

 

A math teacher, dad was a numbers guy. I asked him if he had a system when he went to Vegas. He said sure. I suggested that if he accepted God and was right the result would be eternal salvation. And if he was wrong, he asked. I said it wouldn’t really matter. He could see it as a hedge if it made him feel better. Again he paused and reflected. He said he would give it some thought.

 

It was then that he told me that when the nurse had come he had told her that he was ready to go. I asked him what she said. He told me that she said that neither Butch nor I could do anything like administer drugs or give him a gun. If he was ready all he had to do was to stop eating.

 

I asked him if he wanted me to tell him what it was like for my mom. They had been divorced for over 30 years- longer than they had been married. But he always asked about her. He said yes. So I told him how it went for her, when she stopped eating it was just a matter of a few days. I explained that the hospice folks were very good and the comfort measures they have would make him, well, comfortable as his body began to shut down.

 

Again he was reflective. He said he was tired and wanted to rest. No surprise, I was tired. We had had a wide ranging, deep conversation about things that are difficult. Butch and I put him in bed. He fell asleep and Butch sat with him while I tried to get some work done.

 

After an hour he called for me. I went into his room and held his hand as he fell asleep. He grasped my hand while he slept for two hours. It was all I could do to sit peacefully with him. I was missing a lot of work and thinking how far behind I was; I was contemplating my father’s end of life just months after my mom had transitioned; I had just had deep conversations about the difficult topic of end of life; I had been triggered to contemplate my own mortality; and I was faced with the dilemma of wanting him to pass and find peace and then feeling bad for wanting him to die. I asked God what the lesson for me was here and prayed that I learn it quickly so that he could take him, and in fact asked God to take him.

 

This is a deeply moral juxtaposition that has no immediate, nor easy resolution. I found myself in a situation that was in stark contrast to my recent experience with my mother.

 

The hospice chaplain visited and we talked. I think she came for me more than for dad as she didn’t want to wake him. We talked about the conversations that had been going on. She said he could get hungry and want to eat. I said that decision was his, that I had no agenda or expectation. She had encouraged him to be curious about what lies ahead and to try to resolve any lingering issues or regrets and at that time he had said that he felt like he had.

 

I left to go back to where I was staying and get some work done and told Butch I would be back around noon the next day.

 

When I returned the next day dad was sitting at the table eating some lunch. It was clear that he was not going to stop eating. Butch told me that he had taken dad to church in the morning and after dad said he was hungry and wanted to go to Denny’s. I told him Denny’s was probably the thing that would do him in.

 

I told him that his comfort was the most important thing and that if he wanted to eat then he should eat. I told him that no one would withhold food from him, force medicine on him or put him in a home.

 

And so life goes on. He is not taking the dozens of pills he was on before the stroke for blood pressure, blood sugar, thyroid, etc, etc, etc., and yet his blood pressure is stable and there have been no ill effects from stopping the medicines. All we can do is make him comfortable while we wait for the inevitable. Life is mysterious and sometimes it is difficult, but there are opportunities for growth and expressions of humanity in every situation.

 

My father was there for me when I was toothless and in diapers and life has given me the opportunity to return the favor and in so doing I think I have finally grown up.

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A Powerful Beginning

I have had many amazing experiences using hypnotherapy to help people, but nothing even comes close to using hypnobirthing to help my daughter with the delivery of her two children.

She came to me afraid because every woman she had ever met told her terrible stories about pain and misery. She said she wanted natural child birth, but was afraid of the pain. I was taking pre-and post-surgery hypnotherapy certification and the amazing Lisa Machenberg who was teaching the course also taught hypnobirthing so I bought her outline and took Britt through six sessions.

This was a critical time, her husband, Joe, was deployed in Iraq with his Marine unit and her mom was her coach. The experience was amazing.

There was not no pain, but it was over in about 24 minutes. The nurses delivered because the doctor didn’t get there in time.

So when the opportunity arose again, we jumped right in. This time we included hubby. The longest part of this delivery was the three hours of labor waiting to sufficiently dilate. Once there, it was three pushes over 15 minutes and the baby shot out and the doctor caught her!

During this time, Britt had the recording of the hypno session playing out loud. The nurses and the doctor were amazed and when Britt told them it was her dad, more so.

Who do you know who could benefit from a more natural, powerful beginning?

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Exercise Your Power

Seven years ago yesterday I underwent a radical thyroidechtomy and lymphadenectomy.

The experience and the chain reaction of events forever altered my life.

A cancer diagnosis affects a person in ways that cannot be fully imagined or appreciated unless and until you actually experience it. And importantly, it affects everyone around you.

It is at times like these that Dr Viktor Frankl’s adage that between stimulus and response lies a space and in that space lies your power.

In other words, how you choose to respond to something will determine whether you come from a place of power or weakness.

I chose to realign myself. I read widely from inspirational teachers who had themselves undergone transformative experiences.

I came to understand that it is our birthright to have in our heart space love and peace. Their opposites are fear and conflict.

When I feel fear or conflict, I concentrate on my heart center and realigning love and peace.

As a result, I chose to put myself into the service of others.

My modality is hypnotherapy. The power of the subconscious mind cannot be overestimated.

Modern society and the noise from conventional media, social media, electronics and other technology creates an overload of stimulus and literally creates a state of hypnosis for large segments of society.

People are walking around in highly suggestible trance states and don’t even know it.

But the thought of going to a hypnotherapist seems crazy even though the modality is natural, organic, non invasive and does not include medication.

Even in the face of scholarly articles and medical studies demonstrating the efficacy of hypnotherapy for such conditions as cancer, anesthesia, IBS, tinnitus, fears and phobias and countless other maladies many remain cynical.

The range of applications for hypnotherapy is as wide and diverse as human action itself. You need only believe and be willing to apply.

I have successfully deployed hypnotherapy in my life and in the lives of many clients.

Who do you know who could benefit from hypnotherapy? Raise the topic with them.

And then send them my way for a free 30 minute consultation to see if hypnotherapy can help them.

It could alter their life in measurable ways.

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